The world where I live is in slow secret.
The old bird feeder, forever hanging,
Lies on the ground. Its branch is gone.
The fallen leaves from the nearby oak tree
Creep by inches to the back fence.
The sun sneaks near the horizon all day.
A new boy seems to have arrived by himself
In a house sold in haste a few doors down.
He never wears a shirt, runs instead of walks.
The other children have agreed to his rule,
Cheerfully doing the most dangerous things.
New screams fills the air.
A lot, leveled at the top of the hill,
The house erased. No memory
Of what it looked like, who lived there.
Dogs I have never seen before snarl and snap.
All these polite strangers – names of confusion,
Lives of utter mystery.
Is it my time to move somewhere,
Be the question mark –
The one whom no one has seen before,
Who changes how their days happen.
Suddenly inhabiting the scoured hill
Where something was they can’t remember.
(First published in Nightingale & Sparrow #18, Spring 2023. Thanks to editor Juliette Sebock.)